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Courts and Crime

Cleveland City Council backing police chief after shooting criticism
Resolution says chief should be supported during internal investigation

Kevin Niedermier
In The Region:
Cleveland City Council is considering a resolution supporting embattled Police Chief Michael McGrath. McGrath came under fire following an  Ohio Attorney General’s report that said a fatal police shooting was a “systemic failure” of his department.
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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s investigation of the shooting said the system broke down during the nearly half-hour chase that ended in 137 shots being fired at the apparently unarmed suspects. Following last week’s report, Chief McGrath denied it was a systemic failure because policies and procedures are in place, but he says they weren’t followed. The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association has called for McGrath to resign or be fired because he hurt morale by not supporting the officers. City Councilman Zack Reed is sponsoring the resolution backing McGrath.  Reed says the measure is a “vote of confidence” for the chief while a taskforce performs an administrative review of the incident. Reed says it’s important that the chief remains neutral because it’s vital that the public perceives the review as un-biased.

“If they even think the review is not neutral, or that the city is trying to skewer it, they’re not going to be happy. So the resolution says we like the neutrality of the review and we want to go that route, not the route of the police chief saying he supports the officers involved.”

The administrative review could result in disciplinary action against the officers or supervisors. Meanwhile, the attorney’s general’s report has gone to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor who will present the findings to a grand jury for possible criminal charges.

Here is the link to the report by Attorney General Mike DeWine on the Nov. 29 chase and shooting:                                                                          
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